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Charlton Athletic (0) 1 - 3 (1) Ipswich Town

Division 1 1999-00

Saturday, April 29, 2000

Referee: P Richards

Manager: Unknown

The Valley

Attendance: 20,043

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2851

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Match Report

Charlton Athletic 1 Ipswich Town 3

CHARLTON supporters had expected that their side's comeuppance would not be coming for a few months yet. Little did they think it would come while they were still in the First Division. It was likea reminder that this is the league they really belong to.

Of course, there was a lot more riding on the outcome of this game for Ipswich, but unless the newly-crowned champions win their last game, at the Hawthorns next Sunday, an excellent season will have fizzled out like flat champagne. This was their sixth consecutive game without a win.

This surprisingly comfortable victory, of course, had the party poopers dreaming of automatic promotion. That would depend on them winning at home against Walsall, and Manchester City losing at Blackburn. The odds may almost favour them, yet one has a nasty feeling that the play-offs still beckon for George Burley's side and we all know how that usually ends for the unlucky Suffolk club.

Charlton had been determined to enjoy the party, come what may. Who knows what horrorsawait them next season up among the big boys?

How Ipswich must have envied Charlton their celebratory mood. The First Division's championship issue has been effectively decided ever since Charlton reeled off those 12 straight wins between December and March. Their sprint may have slowed to a jog across the finishing line, but they have been comfortable winners.

This game, however, only served to illustrate the great divide which exists between the Premiership and the First. First and third placed in their division they may be, but both these sides, on this evidence, would struggle to keep their heads above the parapet. With nothing other than a desire to finish their home programme on a winning note, Charlton created desperately few goalscoring chances.

Ipswich were not much better. Even when they scored, it failed to relax them. After 23 minutes Mark Kinsella was adjudged to have fouled David Johnson 25 yards out. Jim Magilton, whose best days must surely be behind him at nearly 31 and yet was probably the most composed player on the field, curled the ball Beckham-like over the wall and just inside Dean Kiely's right-hand post.

Charlton finally found a bit of momentum just before half-time and it was more through luck than judgment that Tony Mowbray and Richard Wright between them managed to keep out a first-time, side-footed volley by Paul Kitson.

No sooner had Addicks fans spent half-time cursing Kitson for his miss than his substitute, Mathias Svensson, incurred their wrath for completely miskicking when teed up by John Robinson.

Ipswich went straight up the other end and from Scowcroft's cross Matt Holland scuffed his shot wide when directly in front of goal. And then when Svensson cleverly worked a cross, it was Robinson's turn to refuse the Swede's offering.

And so it continued until, after 57 minutes, Charlton, pushing for the equaliser, were caught out by Magilton's quick-release ball. Johnson is too quick for most defences, never mind an advanced one, and he ran on to drive it past Kiely, who could only thump the turf in anger at his fellow defenders' naivety.

By the time substitute Martijn Reuser made it three after 70 minutes with a miss-hit shot, it was getting past a joke for the Charlton fans. An Andy Hunt header to a John Robinson free-kick was little consolation.

Daily Telegraph

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